NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. biofuels trade group asked a federal court on Wednesday to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from giving refiners new waivers from the country’s biofuels law until the agency reverts to the tougher criteria it used to assess applications before Donald Trump’s presidency, according to court papers.
The waivers can exempt small refineries — those with a production capacity of 75,000 barrels per day or less – from the requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates U.S. refiners blend biofuels into the fuel pool or buy compliance credits from those who do.
Trump’s EPA has vastly expanded the biofuel waiver program to save the oil industry money, angering Midwest farmers who say the policy destroys demand for corn-based ethanol and other biofuels at a time they are already struggling – putting the administration in the center of a fight between two key constituencies.
“We want to return to normalcy,” Michael McAdams, head of the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA), which filed the injunction in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, said in an interview on Wednesday. “My members will continue to suffer irreparable harm unless the EPA changes its ways.”
The U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard is meant to help farmers by requiring refiners to blend certain volumes of biofuels into their fuel each year or purchase credits from those that do. But the RFS also allows small refineries to apply for exemptions to the regulation if they can prove that compliance would cause them financial harm.
Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis